Cabin Fever – A Bucket List

Well, it’s started…

The big snow has begun, and we’re waiting for anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of snow.  School is cancelled already for tomorrow, and we are anticipating yet another snow day–trapped inside, away from the bitter cold.  I’ve lost track of the number of snow days we’ve had already–enough to take away almost all of the school’s remaining days off and bordering adding time to the school day or going until the end of June.  I anxiously await the picking at each other and the inevitable…”I’M BORED!”

So in anticipation of yet another snow day, I put together a Snow Day Bucket List.  Let’s try to make the most of being stuck inside with each other…again.

What about where you are?  Are you snowed in?  What’s on your bucket list?

Snow Day Bucket list | Making the Most

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I Forgot My Sneakers (at the Gym)

I Forgot My Sneakers - Making the Most Blog

Nope.  I’m not kidding.  I got myself all the way down to the gym, opened my gym bag, and realized it.  I forgot my sneakers!

And my sports bra.

And my headphones.

And I had gone out of my way in the morning to make sure I remembered a change of clothes and a pair of socks ready for the gym.

I couldn’t believe myself.

But I couldn’t leave!  The front desk had seen me come in, and they know my face; they know my schedule.  So which would be more embarrassing–leaving right after I came in?  Or working out in what I had?

I decided the lesser of the two evils was just to work out in what I had.

I was sure that everyone was looking at me and inwardly laughing.  But I kept trying to tell myself that I don’t really pay attention to what everyone else is wearing, so maybe I would be lucky and no one would notice…that I was wearing my socks with my flats.  Yep.  Socks and flats.

I have to say, it’s not very easy to take a walk in flats.  Thankfully I didn’t have much time to work with anyway, so I just took a 15-minute walk.  I quickly changed into my flip flops before leaving the building so no one else could see what I worked out in.

This awkward situation reminded me of how unprepared for life we often are.

When I was pregnant with Rapunzel, I had planned to give her up for adoption.  I was 19, unmarried, and was no longer in a relationship with her father (long story).  I was in college and working in retail; I knew I couldn’t provide for her like I wanted, and, having been a child of divorced parents, I wanted her to be a child of a two-parent home.

But everything changed in the hospital after her birth.  Her father arrived for delivery and, the following day, announced that he would not sign the paperwork for her adoption.  My options were slim: I could sign away my rights to the new family I had chosen with the chance her father would fight it and win; then he would raise her (and if you knew his history, you wouldn’t want that either).  Not only that, but then the family would be heart-broken anyway and my daughter would have to try to bond with someone else during a time when she had already developed an attachment to another.  So I made the only choice I felt I had: the adoption was off.

And I cried.

our first night at home - I Forgot My Sneakers - Making the Most Blog

Here I was, 19 years old, without my four-year degree, working in retail, living at home, and single.  With a new baby.  This was not the life I had planned for my daughter.  Or myself for that matter.  I had no crib.  No car seat.  No diapers.  No clothes.  Nothing.  I was so afraid.  And unprepared.

But God gave me the gifts I needed for that time in my life in order to survive.

Friends, family, church members–they came out of the woodwork to support me.  My stepmom picked up a car seat, the family I babysat for gave me a crib and a mattress, and my friends and church sent diapers, wipes, blankets, and clothes–more than I could have ever asked for.

And their support was tremendous.  The first time I took her to church, everyone wanted to hold her.  During her first year, they fed her, rocked her, held her, and loved her.  And they loved me for me–a young, single mother.

WIth their help, and with my own instinct, the Word, and the help of Kevin Leman and Dr. James Dobson, I survived.  And with the help of friends and family, I worked hard to earn my associates degree and provide for my daughter.

God provided what I needed to get me through that difficult time.  And in time, he provided what I wanted the most for my daughter–a father.

That first year, I felt like I did at the gym: in my socks and flats, unprepared, clueless.  But nobody judged me for my preparedness, I worked with what I had, and we got through it.

Are you feeling unprepared today?  How have you been able to work with what you have to get by?

1 Year and Counting…

Wow!  What a fun (and busy!) summer we had.  Now we’re in the midst of fall and school, soccer seasons, and Wednesday night church programs, homework, and planning for the fall.  Does the busyness ever end?

I wanted to post a little over a week ago but, as usual, ran out of time!  I was excited to (internally) celebrate my one year anniversary of being a (sort of) stay at home mom!  October 1 was my first official day as an unemployed mother, and I can honestly I would never go back.  While the circumstances that surrounded my leaving my full-time job were thoroughly discouraging, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I had in the last year for anything!

I have no doubt that God was at work when he allowed me to leave full time employment.  Only two months into 2013 I had already had to grieve two loved ones and take time off to attend viewings/funerals.  There’s no way my full time job would have allowed that, as neither of the individuals who passed were immediate family.  I had the opportunity to volunteer for Kid Writing numerous times, went on field trips I never could have attended otherwise, and had the opportunity to attend other school functions.

I had a summer off!  (Well, mostly.)  We worked around my part-time work schedule, and I got to take my family to many different parks around the county, libraries, have playdates (my favorite was spa day!), color, read together, snuggle together, make crafts, and more.

I was able to start working out regularly at the gym–something I definitely wouldn’t have time for as a full-time working mom.  I’m working back toward being healthy.

And best of all, I’m able to drop Rapunzel off at the bus stop in the morning, drop off Tinkerbell at preschool three days a week, put in my hours, pick up Tinkerbell from preschool, and still get Rapunzel off the bus–something my full-time job wouldn’t budge on (we’ll just leave it at that.)  And in the meantime I get to help out my working friends who need to get their kids to and from school.

I love how God can take rotten circumstances and turn in them into something beautiful.  When has He done this for you?

Movie Review: Chasing Mavericks

Chasing Mavericks CoverOn Family Movie Night last Friday, Wendy chose Chasing Mavericks (we had a Redbox code!).  At first I was a little nervous; Tinkerbell is not one to sit well through non-animated movies.  Fortunately, this was a good pick.

Chasing Mavericks, a movie released in 2012, tells the story of Jay Moriarty, an accomplished surfer who became famous at age 16, when his wipeout was filmed while surfing Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, California.  This movie was based on a true story–one of my favorite genres.

There are a couple of words used in this movie that I would have preferred to avoid, but overall it was a great movie.  Rapunzel was a bit scared during a couple of scenes, but nothing gave her nightmares.  Tinkerbell fell asleep halfway through (thank goodness!).  And Wendy commented the next morning on how much she liked the movie.

I’d have to say that I also enjoyed this movie.  It wasn’t my favorite movie of all time, but it was definitely a good one, and I’d probably watch it again.  The theme of this movie was an encouraging one: it talked of chasing your dreams–not quitting when things get tough.  And that’s something that everyone (young and old) needs to remember.

So next time you have a family movie night, check out this one.  And then let me know what you thought.

The First Sign of Summer…

…is signing up for our local library system’s summer reading program and our local park program! We signed up today, and Rapunzel was so excited!
Tinkerbell, Wendy, and Rapunzel in front of our local library

If you have a local library who offers a summer program (many of them do), I’d strongly recommend signing your kids up.  Our library system rewards the children based on the number of minutes read.  I enjoy this method better than number of books read only because it’s more fair to children of different ages.  Either way, it’s a great way to keep the kids’ learning throughout the summer.  It’s a known fact that many children lose much of what they learned during the school year throughout the summer.  Reading throughout the summer will help keep them from losing this knowledge and give them a boost for the next school year.

Our summer park program is offered in collaboration with the library program.  Check with your local library or your community’s recreation commission.  Last year was the first year our family did this, and we enjoyed it immensely.  Unfortunately Tinkerbell was somewhat of a pain to walk with, but we all got our exercise and were able to check out our local parks in the process.

After receiving our booklets today, I mapped out our route for the summer.
parkprogram2012

Last year, Tinkerbell won a camping package for completing all of the rubbings at each of the parks.  She wasn’t so thrilled when she saw it, but when we got home she thought it was the best thing since chocolate milk!  I hope we win again this year!

We’ve already logged ten minutes today (it doesn’t sound like much, but we were at a party all evening), and our first day of the parks will be next Tuesday, when the kids are finally out of school.

Does your community offer a library and/or park program?  What does it offer and how do you like it?